UK PM Boris Johnson to Be Chief Guest at India’s R-Day Celebration

UK’s foreign secretary, who is in India for four days, held talks with external affairs minister S Jaishankar today.

2 min read
File image of UK PM Boris Johnson.

United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Tuesday, 15 December, said that UK PM Boris Johnson has accepted India’s invitation to attend India’s Republic Day celebrations in January 2021.

“The presence of PM Boris Johnson as the chief guest at Republic Day 2021 would be in a way symbolic of a new era, a new phase of our relationship,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said.

He added, as per ANI: “The UK is a very important partner for us, whether it is on global issues, whether it is multilateral organisations. We certainly expect a much closer working together in international organisation and platforms and on global issues.”

Johnson is the sixth person from the UK to be a chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations and the first British PM since John Major in 1993, reported The Indian Express.

The UK foreign secretary, who arrived in India for a four-day visit on Monday, held talks with Jaishankar on Tuesday. The EAM reportedly said that they focused on five broad themes, “coting people, trade and prosperity, defence and security, climate change, and health.”

Further, ANI reported that they spoke on Afghanistan, the development of the Indo-pacific and Middle East, and Jaishankar informed that “challenges posed by terrorism and radicalism were a shared concern.”

Addressing the media, Raab said, “We want to deepen our economic partnership with India... We're committed to building a stronger defence and security partnership with India, that will help us tackle shared issues related to terrorism, maritime security including piracy in Western Indian ocean.”

When media asked about the free trade agreement with UK and India not signing RCEP, Jaishankar replied, “ I think you're comparing apples and oranges. UK wasn't part of the RCEP. Our experiences on RCEP can't carry over to discussion with UK. There's a serious intent to take trade relationship forward.”Challenges posed by terrorism and radicalism were a shared concern

He added, “We look forward to taking the spot in 2021 including the UK’s presidency of G7 & also our presidency of UN Climate Change Conference. We welcome India’s return to UN Security Council.”

Reports of the British PM being invited to India were doing the rounds soon after the UK approved the Pfizer vaccine for rollout.

Earlier, the British High Commission on 1 December had responded to the reports saying they could not confirm anything. However, the High Commission had stated that “PM Boris Johnson is keen to visit India as soon as possible,” reported ANI.

(With inputs from ANI and the Indian Express)

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